US Secretary of State Kerry flanked by Italian PM Lettta 37.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jordan is an important partner in the renewed efforts to rekindle the frozen
peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, US Secretary of State John
Kerry said on Thursday in Rome.
“Jordan is an essential partner to peace.
It borders Israel, has already engaged in many activities regarding security,
regarding trade and relations,” Kerry said before meeting Jordan’s Foreign
Minister Nasser Judeh.
“It is absolutely critical for all of us to try to
move speedily and with focus to try to get to a place where everybody
understands we are engaged in a serious process to reopen negotiations. Jordan
will play a key role in that,” Kerry said.
Their meeting followed a
flurry of diplomatic activity in the last eight days, including two meetings
with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni – the first last Thursday in Washington, and
the second on Wednesday in Rome. Kerry also spoke with Qatar’s Prime Minister
Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani by phone on Wednesday. Later that day, US President
Barack Obama spoke with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
laudatory words about Jordan’s role in the peace process come amid a sudden
diplomatic crisis between the two countries
, in which Jordan is threatening to
recall its ambassador over Israeli actions in Jerusalem, particularly regarding
the Temple Mount.
Israel limited the entrance of Muslim worshipers to the
Temple Mount on Tuesday and allowed Jews to visit the compound in honor of
Jerusalem Day, which continued into Wednesday.
Judeh said that Jerusalem
was important to his country and its monarchy, as well as to Arabs and Muslims
around the world.
“Jerusalem has to be the symbol of peace, and I think
Jerusalem is a very, very important component of all the final-status
discussions that will take place,” he said.
Like Livni, he spoke warmly
of Kerry’s efforts to renew the peace process.
“There have been many
initiatives in the past. There have been many failed attempts, false starts, and
there were attempts that resulted in limited success, perhaps, and we should
build on all that. And this is why it’s important to look at the history and
share our thoughts and our ideas and our approaches with each other so that we
can try and bring the parties back to the negotiating table, perhaps in a
different way and more effective way this time,” Judeh said.
Army Radio on Thursday that Kerry’s efforts had reinvigorated the peace process
and given it a new “momentum.” Netanyahu, she said, was very interested in a
peace agreement, even though there were partners in his coalition who were
opposed to it.